Food safety and quality

Food safety aspects of edible insects outlined in new publication


Edible insects can diversify diets, improve livelihoods, contribute to food and nutrition security and have a lower ecological footprint as compared to other sources of protein. These potential benefits combined with a heightened interest in exploring alternative sources of food that are both nutritious and environmentally sustainable are spurring commercial production of insects as food and animal feed.

While acknowledging the different opportunities that the sector might bring, this publication analyses the food safety implications associated with edible insects. Some key potential food safety hazards for edible insects are considered in this publication - biological (bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites), chemical (mycotoxins, pesticides, heavy metals, antimicrobials), and physical. The potential for allergenic risks associated with edible insects is also discussed.

Safety risks of eating insects highly depend on the insect species, the environment they are reared in or collected from, what they eat, and the production and processing methods used. A thorough assessment of food safety hazards will help to establish appropriate hygiene and manufacturing practices, which remain a challenges for the sector.

Filling knowledge gaps, developing appropriate regulatory frameworks and encouraging close collaboration among stakeholders will facilitate establishing a multidisciplinary pathway for the sector to promote food safety.

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